Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. continues to experience slowing sales in China, following a September 2012 territorial dispute between the two Asian countries, a senior executive of the carmaker told Reuters. Toyota posted a 15.9-percent year-on-year drop in sales in China in December 2012 to nearly 90,000 vehicles, from 108,000 units sold in the same month in 2011.
The executive, however, called Toyota’s December sales as "surprisingly resilient.” He told Reuters that customer traffic in Toyota's showrooms was returning to pre-territorial row levels, Toyota is selling vehicles in China both directly and through its two Chinese partners.
According to the Toyota executive, the carmaker’s sales rebounded faster than they had expected. He attributed the Japanese carmaker’s rebound in China partly to discounts and other sales incentives Toyota offered in December 2012.
Toyota’s recovery is evidenced by its sales figures in the last four months of 2012. The carmaker’s sales fell 50 percent in September, 44 percent in October, 22 percent in November and 15.9 percent in December.
The Toyota executive further told Reuters that signs in the marketplace across China – including a rebound in customer traffic in dealer showrooms -- were "encouraging."
Japanese companies, including Toyota, suffered a deep backlash in sales in China, as Chinese consumer began boycotting Japan-branded products after a territorial dispute escalated between the two countries.
This was prompted by Japan’s move to purchase two East China Sea islands -- known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese -- from their private owner. Both countries are claiming that the islands belong to their territory.